M anikandan arrived in tinsel town with a bang. His debut movie – as actor and scriptwriter – fetched laurels. Yet, even after completing a decade in the industry, he yearns to do roles that do justice to his potential as an actor. He has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award and State television award for best supporting actor (2003), best actor (2009) and best comedy artiste (2011). Excerpts from an interview with the Pattambi-based actor…
I have been passionate about acting right from my school days, though there aren’t any artistes in my family. I loved being on stage and came up with plays of my own. That was a time when college campuses were abuzz with art and cultural programmes, especially theatre productions. While doing my graduation in Malayalam at Sree Neelakanta Government Sanskrit College in Pattambi, I came up with a play that fetched me the best actor award. My teacher P. Gangadharan then advised me to join the School of Drama in Thrissur. Thus I left my course in between and started my association with theatre.
After finishing my theatre course, I worked with Subramanian Santhakumar in a movie, Mankolangal . I wrote the script and played the lead. That movie won the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Debut Director, the FIPRESCI award (chosen by the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) at the International Film Festival of Kerala 2001, and honours at a film festival in Bangladesh.
Movies and serials
After seeing my performance in Mankolangal , editor Ranjan Pramod suggested that I should meet Lal Jose. I met Lal, he was impressed by my work and thus started our strong association. I got a small role in Meesa Madhavan and later got roles in his films such as Pattalam , Rasikan , Achanurangatha Veedu , Arabikatha etc. He is the one who ensured my stay in the film industry. And up for release is Chapters . I’m also hopeful about Deepan’s next movie, in which I’ve got a prominent role. I’ve acted in serials such as ‘Abhayam’, Sreekumaran Thampi sir’s ‘Coimbatore Ammayi’ (Amrita TV) and ‘Aliyanmarum Pengarum’ (Amrita TV) and ‘Chakkarabharani’ (Surya TV). In the case of ‘Aliyanmarum…’, I was meant to act in five or six episodes. But Thampi sir retained me till the end of the serial. I am currently part of the comedy show, ‘Marimayam’ on Mazhavil Manorama.
Love for comedy
It is true that most of my characters have got a touch of humour, be it in movies or serials. May be such roles come to me because I’m a person who loves to see the lighter side of things.
I haven’t struggled as an actor in the industry. But then, I haven’t got roles that I know I can do. The exception would be my characters in Achanurangatha Veedu , Ee Adutha Kalathu and Friday . Now I am trying to find subjects that I can tackle and for this I’m working with a group of artistes who share my views and ideas. Hopefully, things should work out for me.